Like many other benevolent/fraternal societies, such as the Elks and the Moose, the Weeki Wachee Eagles have a full social calendar for its members. However, the local branch of the Eagles also participates in charitable activities.
On Thursday, January 27th, representatives of the Weeki Wachee Eagles visited K9 Partners for Patriots (K9P4P) to present the organization with a check for $2,500. The money was raised from raffles and other fundraising activities.
K9 Partners for Patriots was founded by Mary Peter, a professional dog trainer, and has been in existence since 2014. Its mission is to secure and train service dogs for veterans who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or military sexual trauma. Most of the canines are rescues, who would be destined for euthanasia if not adopted.
The dogs and the veterans go through a 24-week training program in which the animals learn how to understand and follow commands, to be companions to the ex-service personnel and even learn how to recognize when its owner is in distress. The veteran learns how to handle the dogs, care for them and become part of a team. The program is 100% free to the veteran, so the $2,500 donation from the Eagles will go towards putting a veteran and dog through the training process.
Some of the training exercises involve learning how to function in public places, such as restaurants and grocery stores. Learning how to interact with other people is also an important part of the training. During the 24-week program the veteran and the dog develop an unbreakable bond.
K9 Partners for Patriots welcomes visitors to tour its facility at 15322 Aviation Loop Drive in Brooksville provided arrangements are made in advance. They are always looking for volunteers, whether it’s to work in the office or become foster “parents” to a dog who is waiting to be matched with a veteran.
For more information call 352-397-5306 or log onto www.k9partnersforpatriots.com
The Fraternal Order of Eagles, although maybe not as well-known as the Elks or the Moose, can boast among its famous members, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Bob Hope, and even Billy Ray Cyrus. The local chapter, with more than 500 members, is committed to helping local non-profits, along with having fun.
Some of the social activities include bingo, steak shoots and live entertainment on the weekends. Most of these are open to the public. They have a fully equipped kitchen and an enclosed pavilion for weddings, birthdays and other occasions at their building located at 8263 Cortez Blvd. The group also does catering.
Its charitable activities include collecting food baskets for families at Thanksgiving and Christmas, presents for disadvantaged children at Christmas and helping senior citizens in need. They also raise money for scholarships to Weeki Wachee High School graduates, help victims of natural disasters and award grants to worthy causes like the Children’s Cancer Center in Tampa and organizations such as K9 Partners for Patriots.
Anyone wishing to become a member can visit the club first and receive an application. On their second visit they can request a sponsor, if they want to join. Then they pay their $20 initiation fee and are interviewed by the membership committee.
The aerie, which is what each chapter is called, has its business meetings the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 7:00 pm. For more information, go to their website: https://www.foe4372.com or call 352-597-1586. You can also follow them on Facebook.